Wednesday, August 23, 2006


AP photo -- John Froschauer

[posted in full Thu ~2:12a]

In 25 words or less: Two things I don't miss -- losing and effective wildness.

This one featured Jeff Karstens going up against Cha Seung Baek as opposed to Jaret Wright and Gil Meche, who were slated on Sunday night to start this game, but things change. Jamie Moyer was making the start on this night for the Philadelphia Phillies in Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Karstens was making his Major League debut. Obviously, Baek was called up to fill Moyer's spot. In another move, Adam Jones was sent back to Tacoma to get some sorely needed playing time. Taking his place on the roster was TJ Bohn, who would be making his big-league debut as well whenever he gets into a game. Two standby references I always liked to make when Baek took the mound either referred to the song "Loser" by Beck or to "The John Report" on Almost Live! when John Keister first reported the Mariners had drafted Baek. Keister reported that in the next round, the Mariners drafted I Suk Baad (picture of Bobby Ayala shown). The Mariners returned home and were coming off an off day after having played games for 17 straight days and going 3-14. They hoped to snap an 11-game losing streak. News also came down that Gil Meche would be skipped in the rotation, supposedly due to some tendinitis. In the game on Sunday, Adrian Beltre had a 15-game hit streak as well as a 30-game on-base streak snapped. In an intriguing move, Richie Sexson and Raul Ibañez were swapped in the order, now batting fourth and fifth, respectively. Jose Lopez was bumped down to sixth.

In that Jamie Moyer post I put up on the off day, I found out that Moyer will not fit under the criteria to have his number retired at Safeco Field. Alex Rodriguez, however, will. When that happens, I don't want to hear anybody booing that day. That was five freakin' years ago that he left for Texas. I'm over it. So when number 3 goes to the rafters, remember that it's going up there because he did some great things for this franchise.

In other semi-related news, Karstens inevitably reminds me of late ESPN personality Adrian Karsten. Also, with all the travails that happened between Team Japan and Team (South) Korea in the World Baseball Classic, is there an aura of coldness whenever Ichiro and Baek walk past one another?

Johnny Damon fell behind 0-2 and lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Derek Jeter bounced the second pitch to Lopez, whose tag was dodged by Damon, and he threw barely in time to first as Damon took second. Bobby Abreu worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a change up and away. Somewhat suspiciously, pitching coach Rafael Chaves came to the mound. Jason Giambi took a 1-2 fastball barely off the inside corner before fouling off six of the next seven pitches and grounding hard to first on a full count (12th pitch of the at-bat). Baek threw 25 pitches.

Ichiro popped a 1-2 pitch to left. Chris Snelling had the hitters' counts before walking on a full-count pitch away and in the dirt. Adrian Beltre tattooed a 1-2 fastball into the Mariner bullpen.
Richie Sexson fell behind 0-2 and popped a 1-2 pitch high to Abreu in rightcenter. Raul Ibañez slapped a double just inside the bag down the leftfield line, where the ballgirl nicely jumped out of the way. Jose Lopez was down 0-2 and popped a 1-2 pitch to Green in shallow right. Karstens threw 27 pitches.

Alex Rodriguez was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 2-2 change away. Jorge Posada flew out to Ibañez in leftcenter on the second pitch. Bernie Williams rolled to Sexson behind the bag and on the first-base line, who underhanded to Baek covering for the out. Baek threw 11 pitches and had 36 through two.

Ben Broussard got behind 0-2 and looped a 1-2 pitch to Jeter in shallow left. Yuniesky Betancourt ripped the second pitch near the leftfield corner for a double. Rene Rivera got ahead 3-0 and lined a full-count pitch into right for a single, moving Betancourt to third. Ichiro popped a 1-2 pitch to Posada in foul ground behind the plate. Snelling foul-tipped an 0-2 pitch into Posada's glove behind the plate. Karstens threw 21 pitches and had 48 through two.

Melky Cabrera was up 3-1 before popping to Lopez on the infield grass on a full count. Nick Green rolled an 0-2 pitch to third. Damon got behind 0-2 and reached to loop a 2-2 pitch past Ibañez and to the leftfield wall for a double. Jeter had the hitters' counts (including a mighty 2-0 whiff on a high fastball) and walked. Abreu rocked the first pitch into the mass of inebriation beyond the wall in leftcenter. That came right after Dave Niehaus mentioned Abreu's home run derby exploits at the All-Star Game in Detroit in the recent past.
Giambi whiffed on an 0-2 fastball up and in. Baek threw 24 pitches and had 60 through three.

Beltre fell behind 0-2 and popped high to Jeter in shallow left on a 1-2 pitch. Sexson blasted a second-pitch hanging curve 440 feet from the plate to some guy in a bright orange shirt to the left of Jackie Robinson's retired number 42 in the elevated leftfield bleachers.
Ibañez popped the first pitch to left. Lopez grounded the second pitch hard to first, where Giambi made the backhand stop (3-1 putout). Karstens threw ten pitches and had 58 through three.

Rodriguez fell behind 0-2 and ended up taking a 1-2 fastball over the inside corner. Posada got behind 0-2 before foul-tipping a 1-2 breaking ball into Rivera's glove behind the plate. Williams bounced a 2-0 pitch to second. Baek threw 13 pitches and had 73 through four.

Broussard popped high to fairly deep right as general manager Bill Bavasi joined Dave Niehaus and Dave Valle in the television booth. Betancourt was down 0-2 before popping to shallow center on a 1-2 pitch. Rivera rolled to third. Karstens threw ten pitches and had 68 through four.

Cabrera worked a 1-2 count full before whiffing on a curve down and in. Green grounded hard to third on the second pitch. Damon was up 3-1 before walking on a full-count breaking ball up and away. Jeter worked a 1-2 count for a ten-pitch walk (ball four was barely inside), moving Damon to second. Chaves visisted the mound again. Abreu took a 1-2 pitch in the dirt inside and it went to the backstop, moving Damon and Jeter to third and second. Abreu checkswung but nubbed the next pitch back to the mound. Bavasi, Niehaus, and Valle spent most of the half-inning talking about the fallacies of the salary arbitration process.

Baek's line: 5 innings, 3 runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 103 pitches (64 strikes)

Ichiro chopped high to the mound. Snelling foul-tipped a 2-2 up-and-away breaking ball into Posada's glove behind the plate. Beltre popped the first pitch to right. Karstens threw ten pitches and had 78 through five.

Eric O'Flaherty came in for Baek. Giambi dumped a single into shallow center. Rodriguez was behind 0-2 before completely pummeling a 1-2 low fastball into an aisleway in the elevated leftfield bleachers just inside the leftfield foul pole, an estimated 438 feet from the plate.
Posada rolled the first pitch up the middle for a single. Williams walked on a 3-1 pitch inside and in the dirt to move Posada to second. Cabrera popped a 1-2 pitch to Snelling in rightcenter. Green whiffed on an 0-2 low slider. Damon was behind 0-2 and rolled a 1-2 pitch to second.

O'Flaherty's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 27 pitches (19 strikes)

Sexson popped a 2-2 pitch to Abreu just short of the track in rightcenter. Ibañez was up 2-0 before flying out to center. Lopez rolled the second pitch up the middle for a single. Broussard took the second pitch in the dirt and to the backstop, moving Lopez to second. Broussard was up 2-0 after the wild pitch.

Mike Myers came in for Karstens. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Broussard, inherited Broussard's 2-0 count and was given two intentional balls to finish out the walk.

Jaret Wright came in for Myers. Betancourt popped the first pitch to Abreu in shallow right. Wright threw one pitch.

Karsten's line: 5 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 91 pitches (61 strikes)
Myers' line: 0 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 pitches (0 strikes)

Sean Green came in for O'Flaherty. Jeter bounced out to first. Abreu was ahead 3-0 and took a full-count curve that nearly hit him for a walk (eight pitches). Craig Wilson, hitting for Giambi, fell behind 0-2 before rolling a 1-2 pitch to a charging Beltre near the mound, who did the charge-and-barehand thing, but this time it was a tiny bit late since he was playing a bit too far back as Abreu moved to second. Rodriguez was ahead 2-0 before getting intentionally walked to load the bases. Chaves visited the mound. Posada bounced the first pitch to second to start a 4-6-3 double play.

Green's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 21 pitches (11 strikes)

Rivera was down 0-2 and ended up reaching on a 1-2 pitch and rolling out to short. Ichiro bounced a single off the side of the mound and into center for a single. Snelling lined the first pitch near the rightfield line for a double, moving Ichiro to third. Beltre got ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch down and away (checkswing). Sexson chopped the second pitch to short, where Jeter tossed to Green covering at second for the force on Beltre, but Beltre started his slide quite late (i.e., right before he got the bag) and took out Green, who couldn't make a throw to first to get Sexson. Ichiro scored and Snelling moved to third.

Ron Villone came in for Wright. Ibañez got ahead 3-0 and poked a 3-1 pitch through the right side for a single, scoring Snelling and moving Sexson to second.
Lopez popped a 2-0 pitch to Abreu in shallow rightcenter. Villone threw eight pitches.

Wright's line: 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (9 strikes)

Rafael Soriano came in for Green. Williams walked on four pitches. Cabrera bunted too hard out in front, where Soriano pounced on the ball and threw in time to second to force out Williams and foil the Yankees' sacrifice prospects.

George Sherrill came in for Soriano. Robinson Cano, hitting for Green, popped a 2-0 pitch lazily to short. Damon had the count 1-2 when Sherrill snap-threw to first as Cabrera was caught taking off for second (1-3-6 putout). Sherrill threw six pitches.

Soriano's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 6 pitches (1 strike)

Perez had the hitters' counts and walked on a 3-1 fastball away. Willie Bloomquist came in to run for Perez. Betancourt bunted the second pitch along the right side, where Villone threw to a covering Cano at first (1-4 putout) as Bloomquist moved to second. Kenji Johjima, hitting for Rivera, grounded the first pitch hard to third. Ichiro was intentionally walked. Yankee pitching coach Ron Guidry came to the mound with the infielders for a visit. TJ Bohn, hitting for Snelling and making his Major League debut, got ahead 2-0 before whiffing on a 2-2 high fastball. Villone threw 17 pitches and had 25 total.

Bohn stayed in to play right. Damon popped the second pitch to Bohn a couple steps short of the rightfield track.

Julio Mateo came in for Sherrill. Jeter drilled a single into right, surpassing Lou Gehrig and Williams for the franchise lead in singles. Abreu was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 belt-high fastball. Aaron Guiel, hitting for Wilson, worked a 1-2 count for a walk (last pitch up and away) to move Jeter to second, with a Chaves visit to the mound sandwiched in there. Rodriguez whiffed on a 1-2 belt-high pitch.

Sherrill's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 8 pitches (4 strikes)
Mateo's line: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 18 pitches (10 strikes)

Beltre killed a 1-2 high-and-away fastball, going off of the green metal fence in front of the first row of seats beyond the rightfield wall. You know, the fence that's got the metal-grate walkway for the seating hosts between it and the wall from the field of play.

Villone's line: 1 1/3 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 29 pitches (12 strikes)

Gameball: George Sherrill.
Adrian Beltre would be the obvious and too-easy gameball choice, and since I barely ever do that here unless I think it'll never happen again, the gameball goes to Sherrill. Sure, he didn't come in against the meat of the order by any means, but three outs in the late innings in a tie game are three outs nonetheless. He only faced two batters, Robinson Cano, who was pinch-hitting for the starting number-nine hitter (Nick Green) and Johnny Damon. Of course, he did sandwich the outs of those two hitters with the pickoff of Melky Cabrera at first on the snap throw to end the eighth. Sherrill has an ERA of 3.12 this season, though it seems like it'd be a lot less, or at least that's the way I feel. Of course, I forget sometimes that Sherrill doesn't pitch a whole inning every time he's in the game. In his 56 appearances this season, he has given up runs in 11. Sherrill's been used a lot more than if he were Mike Hargrove's latter-day Paul Assenmacher, and thank goodness for that, but if Sherrill's sole job were to just get lefties out, well, they're hitting .111 against him.

Goat: Eric O'Flaherty.
Of course, using only Major League material, I don't have too much to work with when it comes to O'Flaherty here other than that he's got a nice curve, he's showed some degree of fearlessness on the mound, and his surname is very Irish. The main reason I have him as the goat here is because none of the starting hitters hung up and 0-for-3 or 0-for-4, and I thought he had the worst line out of all the pitchers (Baek gets a break due to it being his first big-league start against the season; I didn't expect him to eat up seven innings or anything). Of course, he can tell his kids one day that he gave up his first big-league homer to Alex Rodriguez, who absolutely pulverized that ball into the leftfield cheap(er) seats. I took one quick look at his minor-league numbers and the thing that stuck out to me was his nice strikeout-to-walk ratios. He struck out 33 and walked six at high-A Inland Empire (16 appearances), struck out 36 and walked 15 at AA San Antonio (25 games), and struck out four and walked one in two games at Tacoma. Needless to say, the San Antonio numbers are the most meaningful out of the bunch.

Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 89-36 .712 -- L1
2003 76-49 .608 13 W2
2002 75-50 .600 14 L1
2000 70-55 .560 19 W1
2006 57-68 .456 32 W1
2005 53-72 .424 36 L3
2004 46-79 .368 43 L3

Wang. Hernandez. Tonight.

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